Sunday, April 12, 2009

Market Street Market -- Filling a Niche

Coming back from CCF this afternoon, I thought I'd pop in and check to see if Market Street Market was open for business -- I had swung and missed yesterday around noon, but then heard they were open later on, so I wanted to check it out.

Thankfully, it was open, and I must say I'm impressed. For reasons I already wrote about a couple months ago after the Nasons spoke at a Lowell Downtown Neighborhood Assocation Meeting (the one at Athenian), this idea is welcome, and long overdue. Downtown has needed a grocery store for a lot longer than I've been here to notice and write about it, and there was a palpable sense of gratitude among the other shoppers I just talked to at MSM.

As I said before, I would definitely *root* for ANY downtown business, or really any local business at all, but in this case there's a lot of value coming back to me in a way that another Irish-themed pub or beauty salon wouldn't provide. As someone with a) a less-than-stellar track record of buying groceries and cooking at home, and b) a less-than-less-than stellar track record of ensuring said groceries do not go bad before recommended consumption date, it's quite nice to have a place I can buy real fresh groceries right across the street from my house.

Plus, I'm a fan of the hours. Weekdays for the time being are 7 a.m. - 8 p.m., with the possibility of later hours if the demand signal is there.

I noticed prices for a lot of items were a shade (or two) higher than what you might see at a supermarket or big box store, but a) as Robert Nason explained to me today, some may change as new suppliers are brought into the fold, and b) it saves downtowners from the hassle/cost of driving, and c) even with a slight markup, buying and preparing real food is probably a lot better on the wallet and the arteries than constantly falling back to Wendy's and Mickey D's as a matter of habit.

2 comments:

mariannika said...

I stopped by the Market Street Market on Saturday. I'm so glad it's downtown - it's a lovely little grocery with gorgeous produce and the owners are very friendly and nice.

The prices did seem a bit high but I think the convenience factor more than makes up for the slight markup.

I think that having a small grocer downtown brings a lot to the area - all great urban areas offer their residents access to everything they need within a small radius - that's what makes city living great. I think the Market Street Market brings downtown one step closer to being an extremely liveable urban area.

The New Englander said...

Mariannika,

Thanks for your comment, I think they're often the best parts of blogs.. And glad to see a new reader/commenter here at TNE..At least as long as it's manageable for me to do so, I always try to do a comment-to-the comment to reciprocate the thought and effort..

I was talking to friends last night about Market Street Market and I think the consensus was that for produce, fresh meats, and stuff we'd use to get together and cook dinner, it's an awesome resource to have right outside the door. For other items like cereal and similar non-perishable packaged goods, it would be best to pick them up on bigger grocery runs..but as you said, the convenience is a huge deal.

I don't know if you saw Kathleen Marcin's quotes in the Sun piece from last month, but to borrow a line, one of the best parts of living downtown is parking your car on Friday and not having to start it until Monday morning. If I can walk to MSM instead of having to fight through traffic and parking somewhere else, that's definitely *worth* a lot..

best,
gp